SGT Robert Pryor, U.S. Army (1967-1969)



The following Reflection represents SGT Robert Pryor’s legacy of their military service from 1967 to1969. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

Riskiest Moment: Was there any specific incident during your military service when you felt your life was at risk? What were the circumstances, and what was the outcome?

At 0200 hours on 20 June 1969, our camp was partially overrun by approximately 100 Việt Cộng.  They held the south and east portions of our compound.  There were over three dozen trapped women and children hiding in that area.  Four US Special Forces and two Vietnamese Special Forces were in the camp.  We also had 15 to 20 members of our Civilian Irregular Defense Group.  Mostly the sick, lame, and lazy.  Our main camp strikers were out on two separate operations.  The Vietnamese Special Forces soldiers elected not to participate in the battle, so it was four against 100.

Our detachment commander,1LT John Parda, determined someone needed to recapture the lost sections and rescue the women and children.  I volunteered and took our interpreter with me.  He got killed right away.  Other than the Việt Cộng and the women and children, I was alone.  I kept getting wounded as I prosecuted the war.  An unarmed Khmer medic attempted to plug my leaks and was killed at my side.  He kept me alive long enough to accomplish my mission.

My TWS Battle Buddy, Forward Air Controller CPT Richard Gerry, arrived with air assets.  I had the Việt Cộng surrounded from the inside.  Richard had no choice but to bring Spooky’s weapons fire to bear on my position.  I was in the open, in the dark.  It was indeed “Spooky” to have 3,000 to 6,000 rounds per minute impacting as close as six feet away.

My rifle was eventually KIA, rendering me unarmed.  No friendly forces knew my location because my radio was also destroyed.  I received 11 gunshot wounds, 19 major shrapnel wounds, and over 200 minor wounds.  Richard and the air assets he directed, drove the enemy back from my position.  He and SFC Carl Cramer, our communications sergeant, only guessed at where I might be.

After the Việt Cộng retreated some, another TWS Battle Buddy, SFC Charles Hinson, found and rescued me while under fire.  He returned me to the inner compound, where John dressed my wounds and Carl called for a medevac.  It refused to get me because our camp was unsafe.  A second medevac answered the call.  It landed between the inner and outer perimeter.  All but two of the women and children survived.

Together We Served to hold the camp.  SFC Charles Hinson and SFC Carl Cramer were both wounded and earned Silver Stars for that night.  1LT John Parda was the only one not wounded.  He earned a Bronze Star with a V device.  I was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

One picture is of our camp after the attack.  Another is of SFC Hinson at daybreak, covered with my blood.  Next is me following a skin graft on my right forearm about two months after getting wounded.  The last picture is me, John, Charles, and Carl 31 years after the attack.

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Tags: Bronze Star, Civilian Irregular Defense Group, Distinguished Service Cross, Military Memories of our Runner-Ups, Silver Stars, Together We Served, US Special Forces, Vietnamese Special Forces


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